The Mormon Church announced Tuesday morning that Russell M. Nelson has become its new president. The selection of the 93-year-old former heart surgeon was done by high-ranking Mormon D. Todd Christofferson, during a broadcast from the Salt Lake Temple, to members of the church around the world.
“We are pleased to announce to you this morning that President Russell M. Nelson was set apart as the 17th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, January 14, 2018,” said Christofferson. “With President Dallin H. Oaks as First Counselor and President Henry B. Eyring as Seconcd Counselor in the First Presidency. President M. Russell Ballard was set apart as acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.”
Nelson is the religion’s 17th president. He is the second-oldest man to assume the position that succeeds Thomas S. Monson, who died Jan. 2 at the age of 90.
Nelson later spoke to reporters during a press conference from the church’s administration building. He said, he wakes up each morning eager for the adventures of the day.
“Though our world is filled with serious challenges, I am optimistic about the future and feel confident about the fundamental goodness of human kind,” expressed Nelson. “I marvel at the compassionate outreach we see constantly from leaders and members of other faiths, and from people of good will everywhere, who seek to reduce human suffering wherever it is found.”
He said the church will continue to provide resources and manpower, to provide aid in times of turmoil.
Oaks said he felt privileged to be called as a counselor. He described working with President Nelson in the Quorum of the Twelve for almost 34 years.
“I know his love of the Lord Jesus Christ and his commitment to our Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation, of which he has spoken,” described Oaks. “I know his love of the people and I know of his wisdom.”
He said he was thrilled to participate in the leadership of the church.
Eyring later said he hopes the world will see the church for what it is, and what it wants to become and why.
“This is important to us as it surly is to you, but it is never easy,” Eyring said. “Even those of us within the church have to work hard to see the church as it really is. It is even harder for those who are looking from outside. It is also easier for us to describe what we are trying to become than it is for you to believe that we really hold such lofty aims.”
Prior to his service as head of the church, President Nelson served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since April 1984. He was president of that quorum from July 15, 2015, until his call as the Church’s leader.
In April, the church is expected to fill the two vacancies, left from Monson’s and previously Robert D. Hales’ death in October.
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